Graduate Program


Graduate assistantship opportunities in the Zimmerman School are highly competitive because they include a stipend, partial tuition waiver, and health benefits. Assistantships are awarded to applicants with high academic performance.

Assistantships are awarded to begin in the fall semester. Assistantships are a privilege and responsibility, not a right. Graduate Assistants (GAs) should approach their responsibilities with the same professionalism demanded in any employment situation.

Retaining an assistantship depends on availability of funding, performance evaluations as a graduate assistant, and at least a 3.0 GPA in all graduate courses.

In order to qualify for a graduate assistantship, students must be fully admitted to the Zimmerman School and registered as a full-time student (nine credits per semester). International applicants for graduate teaching assistantships must achieve a minimum score of 20 on the speaking portion of the TOEFL or a 6.5 on the IELTS to qualify for consideration.

To apply for a graduate assistantship, complete the following by February 15 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

  • Complete this application survey; and 
  • Submit a recommendation letter from a university faculty mentor or current employer outlining your ability to work as a graduate assistant, in either a teaching capacity or teaching assistant. This letter should not focus on your ability as a student but rather your expertise in specific mass communication or advertising skills to serve in a leadership capacity. Email this recommendation letter to Travis Bell, Director of Graduate Programs and Resaerch, at


  • First-year graduate assistants are generally awarded a .25 FTE (10 hours/week) assistantship.
  • With satisfactory progress, second-year graduate assistants might have their appointments increased to .50 FTE (20 hours/week).
  • Stipend amounts are reassessed annually.

Tuition Waivers

  • The graduate assistant tuition waiver covers 80% of the in-state tuition rate. This is particularly advantageous for out-of-state and international students because an assistantship reduces the tuition rate to in-state costs.
  • The remaining 20% of the tuition, plus fees, is the responsibility of the student. Graduate assistants also have a 9-week grace period to pay that balance.
  • Complete details on cost of attendance are available through the USF Office of Admissions.

Health Insurance

Graduate assistants are eligible for a subsidy for USF-sponsored health insurance. More details can be found on the Student Health Services website.